REAL ESTATE

New York City Movie Theaters to Reopen

New Yorkers can enjoy going to the movies again on March 5. (iStock)

 

This time, the coming attraction is the movie theater.

After a near year-long shutdown, New York City cinemas will reopen at 25 percent capacity or no more than 50 people per screening starting March 5.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on Monday. Moviegoers and theater employees will have to wear masks and abide by pandemic protocols, Cuomo said in a news conference announcing the decision. Theaters will assign seating to ensure social distancing.

Theaters will also be required to have enhanced air filtration systems; malls have had to meet similar requirements.

While Covid cases have ticked down slightly in New York, they still remain high. As of Sunday, the statewide coronavirus case rate was 38 per 100,000 people, the second highest new case rate in the country, according to the New York Times.

But the decision to reopen movie theaters brings the city in line with the rest of New York. Cinemas outside the city were allowed to reopen in October. In a letter sent to Cuomo in early November, the state chapter of the National Association of Theatre Owners unsuccessfully urged the state to reopen city cinemas.

Movie theaters nationwide have been struggling to survive amid lockdowns and capacity restrictions. Even large chains like AMC Entertainment Holdings at one point questioned its long-term viability; the company secured $900 million in financing last month.

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